2019 Volume 34 Issue 1 Pages 23-32
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are important members of the root microbiome and may be used as biofertilizers for sustainable agriculture. To elucidate the impact of AM fungal inoculation on indigenous root microbial communities, we used high-throughput sequencing and an analytical pipeline providing fixed operational taxonomic units (OTUs) as an output to investigate the bacterial and fungal communities of roots treated with a commercial AM fungal inoculum in six agricultural fields. AM fungal inoculation significantly influenced the root microbial community structure in all fields. Inoculation changed the abundance of indigenous AM fungi and other fungal members in a field-dependent manner. Inoculation consistently enriched several bacterial OTUs by changing the abundance of indigenous bacteria and introducing new bacteria. Some inoculum-associated bacteria closely interacted with the introduced AM fungi, some of which belonged to the genera Burkholderia, Cellulomonas, Microbacterium, Sphingomonas, and Streptomyces and may be candidate mycorrhizospheric bacteria that contribute to the establishment and/or function of the introduced AM fungi. Inoculated AM fungi also co-occurred with several indigenous bacteria with putative beneficial traits, suggesting that inoculated AM fungi may recruit specific taxa to confer better plant performance. The bacterial families Methylobacteriaceae, Acetobacteraceae, Armatimonadaceae, and Alicyclobacillaceae were consistently reduced by the inoculation, possibly due to changes in the host plant status caused by the inoculum. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first large-scale study to investigate interactions between AM fungal inoculation and indigenous root microbial communities in agricultural fields.